Nunavut public health to loosen restrictions in Iqaluit this week

GN will start to test wastewater in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet as part of COVID-19 detection

Arts venues in Iqaluit, like its movie theatre (pictured), museum, galleries and library, can open this Friday to a limited number of patrons. (File photo by Dustin Patar)

By Nunatsiaq News

Public health authorities announced plans to loosen more restrictions in Iqaluit this week, as Nunavut’s capital nears one month with no new cases of COVID-19.

Starting Friday, more people will be able to gather indoors and outdoors, while restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, libraries and fitness clubs can open to a limited number of patrons.

“As there are no new cases of COVID-19 in Iqaluit, it is safe to further ease public health measures,” Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, said in a news release.

“It’s important to remember that Iqaluit’s outbreak is not yet over, and all Nunavummiut need to continue to be vigilant.”

As of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nunavut’s Department of Health has approved the following changes:

  • Outdoor gatherings can increase to up to 100 people
  • At-home gatherings can increase to 15 people, in addition to household members
  • Indoor public gatherings, including churches, may now welcome 50 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is fewer
  • Restaurants and licensed facilities can open to 50 per cent capacity
  • Group counselling is permitted for up to 20 people
  • Fitness classes can host a maximum of 10 people
  • Museums, galleries and libraries may allow group tours
  • Iqaluit’s movie theatre can open at 50 per cent capacity
  • Indoor team sports are now permitted

Licensed facilities are still not permitted to host group activities like darts, pool, live music or karaoke.

And Nunavummiut must continue to wear masks in indoor public venues in all communities across the territory.

Wastewater testing will help with COVID-19 detection

The Department of Health also announced Wednesday that it will start testing wastewater in both Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.

The testing is part of COVID-19 surveillance, the department said, and will allow faster virus detection and response to outbreaks in those communities.

This testing will be conducted as a pilot project over the next three months.

As of this week, 22,026 Nunavummiut have had at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, or roughly 55 per cent of the territory’s total population.

Roughly 44 per cent of residents have been fully vaccinated.

There have been no active cases of the virus in the territory since June 22.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inooya on

    Why do we where there has been no cases still have to have masks on? It makes no sense

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    • Posted by Makes perfect sense on

      It makes perfect sense. The pandemic is still on going, the virus has a 10-14 contagious period with no symptoms, if someone lands in Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet they can spread it around for that amount of time without anyone noticing and cause another outbreak.

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      • Posted by Thought on

        Maybe wearing the mask has something to do with no cases?

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    • Posted by S on

      Thanks Inooya. I and many, many others are with you.

      Mask-wearing and nearly all other restrictions, have been in effect for 16 months too long

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    • Posted by Just because dumb on

      We have to wear masks because the decision makers in government don’t know how to keep up with the guidance from Health Canada which states that fully vaccinated people need not wear them. The same applies in the US… everywhere in the modern western world, except Nunavooot

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    • Posted by Jail time on

      Inooya, Nunavummiut are scared. Human nature is such that we respond to fear by trying to control the stressor. The good government sense that fear and respond with control for your “own good”. The problem is governments have a VERY hard time letting go control because it gives them legitimacy.

      Get your vaccine, show courage and take back control.

      Show the politicians that they should be fearful of losing their seat at the next election.

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  2. Posted by Northener on

    This is b.s! We should be back to normal. No restrictions and no masks

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  3. Posted by Give You Head A Shake on

    Give your head a shake.
    CPHO said he is easing restrictions. So we are now allowed to play indoor sports, but you still cant dance or play darts or a game of pool at a bar. Better yet, why are you still not allowed to sing in church ?
    So you can go to a gym and play basketball, where you bump into other players, yell at them, sweat all over them, and give high five’s when you make a free throw, BUT you can dance at a bar, or play darts, or sing in church.
    Make no wonder people are getting so sick of this Bull Sh-t, and don’t want to follow the rules.
    Do you actual read the restrictions before you make them public ?
    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  4. Posted by MARS on

    I very much dislike wearing masks. That being said, I still wear mine and I am proud of Iqalummiut for keeping up with wearing their masks. We are almost 28 days covid-free! Let’s get to that point and enjoy the summer!

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  5. Posted by Children First on

    Next step is to get rid of those disgusting jail-hubs for our young children.

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    • Posted by Teacher on

      I know right!? I have had to isolate three times now in 16 months with my family on our summer, and Christmas vacations. It’s unfair that we have had 12 weeks vacation and have to spend 2 weeks with food, laundry and wifi at someone else’s expense 🙁

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    • Posted by Re-open on

      They should just do away with the hubs entirely. It has been well documented that kids are the least affected by COVID itself, and more at risk for the mental health affects of not having proper schooling and schedules. Fully reopen and the anti-vaxxers can deal with their decisions. I hope Nunavut is prepared for the fallout of Edsby and the learning packages. The return to school this fall is going to show how little was done on Edsby. Well if the schools can even re-open with the mass exodus that just happened this summer. I suspect many teachers will not be returning.

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  6. Posted by Behind The Curve on

    I’ll take my public health advice from people who actually know what they’re doing. Being fully vaccinated means no need for masks. CDC guidelines. More theatre in Nunavut.

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  7. Posted by Foreshadowing on

    I’m willing to bet that as soon as Iqaluit reaches that 1 to 1 1/2 months of being covid free all restrictions will be lifted, whereas most of the other communities have been covid free for over 2 months, and are still forced to follow protocol.
    I’ve said it before and ill say it again. Iqaluit, center of the universe.

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